‘Sham­bolic’ - broad­band plan

The Sligo Champion - - NEWS -

FIANNA Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Ea­mon Scan­lon has warned the govern­ment that jobs will be lost in un­less ur­gent ac­tion is taken to roll out high speed broad­band to ru­ral ar­eas. The lack of broad­band is one of the big­gest is­sues fac­ing ru­ral Ire­land and is threat­en­ing jobs and in­dus­try. he said.

He added: “The govern­ment’s han­dling of the Na­tional Broad­band Plan has been com­pletely sham­bolic. Four Min­is­ters have headed up the Depart­ment of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions since the strat­egy was first an­nounced in 2012 and yet we still have a sit­u­a­tion where large parts of ru­ral Ire­land are not con­nected.

“The only broad­band that is be­ing rolled out is by pri­vate op­er­a­tors. The govern­ment plan is sim­ply not work­ing. Here in Sligo-Leitrim, 41% of the con­stituency is still wait- ing for ac­cess to a high speed con­nec­tion. Five years af­ter the plan was launched, that fig­ure is a damn­ing in­dict­ment of this govern­ment’s com­mit­ment to ru­ral ar­eas.

“I can think of a num­ber of busi­nesses here in Sligo, which need broad­band, and while it has made it to the end of their road, it has not made it to their doorstep.

“One is a high-tech tool mak­ing fac­tory, which em­ploys al­most 18 peo­ple, and which has a large cus­tomer base in China, but which ex­ports right around the world.

“There’s also an eques­trian cen­tre there, which is not only a good em­ployer, but is also an im­por­tant tourism at­trac­tion. I be­lieve these busi­nesses should be tar­geted and that broad­band should be pri­ori­tised in these ar­eas.”

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